The global coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has put an end to professional racing but the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), responsible for anti-doping controls, has confirmed some form of out-of-competition testing will continue where possible.
Priority will be given to elite-level riders in the UCI Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and in particular to what the CADF calls 'urgent missions'.
While UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) have announced reductions in the number of anti-doping controls as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the CADF did not reveal how its work has been affected by nations going into lockdown and placing restrictions on travel, simply saying: "The CADF is closely monitoring developments with the aim of continuing activities to protect clean cycling in the context of the coronavirus pandemic."
The CADF said it is adapting its anti-doping testing process and programme to remain in line with governmental measures and the guidance received from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
In its document, WADA acknowledged that a number of anti-doping testing laboratories have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and that closed borders could also hamper the shipment of samples. In case of problems, it suggests freezing urine samples, while blood samples may not be taken unless shipping can respect specific times.
WADA confirmed that athletes still need to update their Whereabouts information so they can be available for testing, despite being in lockdown at home due to local decrees and laws on the limitation of movement to fight Covid-19. Athletes still need to have up-to-date Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) for any banned substances they may need to take for medical treatment.
Any refusal to undergo an anti-doping test will be treated in the usual manner, with athletes risking suspension for any unjustified refusal.
"Where testing can continue, priority will be given to riders in the UCI Registered Testing Pool (RTP), in particular to urgent missions. For all tests, the safety measures are reinforced to protect the health of cyclists, their entourage and Doping Control Officers (DCOs) in accordance with WADA guidance," the CADF said in its statement.
"Cyclists included in the UCI RTP are required to continue submitting and updating their whereabouts information in accordance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules and Testing and Investigations Regulations.
"Our top priority is the health and welfare of the cyclists, their entourage and the sample collection personnel. Accordingly, our modified testing programme takes into account the following:
"i. the international races that are postponed or cancelled;
ii. the countries identified at risk by the WHO and where government restrictions are imposed;
iii. the list of the WADA-accredited laboratories that have suspended their activities."
WADA issued eight pages of guidance on March 20 for Anti-Doping Organisation (ADO) and athletes "to protect the health and safety of the sample collection personnel, the athletes and anyone else involved in the process".
These included respecting social distancing, the use of mask and gloves, and the cleansing of all areas where tests are done.
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